Well, the long wait is over and D'Angleo Russell was chosen over Okafor as the next Lakers celebrity.
I was torn between the two, vacillating almost daily in which of the two I wanted. Really, I wanted both, because we needed both. But I was ready and willing to accept and embrace whichever one was chosen.
For old time Laker's fans such as myself, the choice of Russell brings the Lakers what could be the first great point guard since Magic Johnson. Rick Pitino said this morning that Russell is the best passer to come into the NBA sinceMagic Johnson. Those are mighty big words considering a guy named Stockton and guy named Nash both came after the Magic Man.
But if Pitino is right, or even close to it, we are in for a real treat. Those of us who lived through the Magic era understand what I mean. For those fans that came after, you will learn what it is like to see a great passer spinning his mesmerizing craft day after day, game after game, month after month, year after year. It is unlike anything else to watch; a unique and special excitement, a thrill that is even unlike watching a great scorer. It brings a buzz of a very special variety to the team, to game, to the fans. At its highest level it is electric. It fires up everyone and everything.
But that's not all we are getting with Russell. He is tall for a point guard at six five and on top of that, he can score. He is also silky smooth on the court with huge hands and massive wingspan. Russell was made to play the point. This guy has a chance to be the dominant point guard in the NBA in a short period of time.
It has been so long since we had a great point guard, a generation of Lakers fans don't even know what it is like. So do several generations of Lakers players who have come and gone without the ultimate largesse a great point guard can bestow on his teammates. For those who have never seen it in LA, brace yourself, you are in for a treat. Something different than you are used to, something that will get in your blood get your fist pumping. Something that will make you keep your eyes glued to the screen least you miss the next special moment. Just like when Magic played.
I learned something else interesting about Russell today. His nickname at Ohio State is Voodoo, gained by his passing legerdemain and also from the natural tie in with D'Angelo's Voodoo album. That is one great nickname. And when you think about it, what is Voodoo but a type of Magic!
And when the time comes when you finally find a replacement for that long ago, old time Magic, what better way than with some hot new Voodoo?
Welcome to the Lakers, Voodoo Russell. It's been a long, long time since we had some Magic at the point. Voodoo sounds like the perfect cure for that. I can't wait to see you play.
06/25/2015 - 09:14 PM PST
Maybe this is why our luck with PG's was so bad since Magic left. God knew 20 years later, we would get another PG that dominated his position and the league. It just wouldn't be fair to have a good PG while Kobe was here lol. I'm just excited to see him in summer league action now.
06/25/2015 - 09:16 PM PST
That is quite the comparison Randy, but the potential and talent are there for this kid. It will be interesting to see which position he takes on- the point guard or the SG. With his passing ability, it would be something if point becomes his natural position in the NBA since his length will allow him to contest shots better vs the likes of Steph Curry.
06/25/2015 - 09:17 PM PST
LNS HOF Platinum
Location: Kobe, Kalifornia
Welcome my brother....WELCOME!!!!!!!
06/25/2015 - 09:19 PM PST
If Carter Williams can succeed in this league and win RoY, then Russell can damn well do anything.
06/25/2015 - 09:37 PM PST
Serious Laker Fan
Welcome to the Lakers D'Angelo Russell. The Lakers now need solid free agents haul and we are set.
06/25/2015 - 09:47 PM PST
LNS HOF Bronze
Thanks for the rep!
I am very excited by this kid. It has been way, way, way too long since we had a great point. I grew up with Magic and I can't tell you how much I miss that special experience of watching a great, willing passer. What that brings to a team in so many ways.
Of course we don't know what will happen with Russell. Will he be Magic Johnson? Of course not. How can he? But he can bring his own type of magic to his name and the point for us. If he is what he seems to be, what a treat this is going to be, what a player he will be and what a building block to the future it is. We are talking star here and nothing less. I am thinking best all around point in hoops in a few years, nothing less. I am talking big time game changer. If he is what he seems. I am very happy.
Dave, I certainly see him as the point. With his passing, he has to have his hands on the ball as much as possible. I see him being the point with Kobe or Clarkson at the shooting guard. His defense was a weakness in college but that was lack of effort than any physical shortcoming. If he wants to defend, with his body he should be able to, and as you say cause even a Curry problems. One thing I really, really hope I don't see this year is Kobe holding the ball, dribbling, dribbling, dribbling and relegating Russell to Nash status. This guy needs to have the ball not be spot up shooter because Kobe wants to have the rock. If that happens well, we won't get to see what Russell can really do till Kobe leaves.
What I would love to see is Kobe impart some of his incredible work ethic on Russell which would make him reach his full potential.
06/26/2015 - 04:54 PM PST
LNS HOF Silver
Randy, I'm always torn when it comes to deciding between potentially great bigs or potentially great pg's. This decision had to be especially tough. Only time will tell if they made the right choice. Okafor has a chance to be a very special offensive big too.
Magic was such a hybrid player, capable of so many things on the court that it's impossible for me to even imagine another player like him. But it's nice to even try to dream of it. It's not very often (if ever) that you see a player who can excel at all five positions on the floor. But that was Magic.
That element of truly making everyone else on the court better is something I've missed for a long, long time now. There's no question that the Lakers have been blessed with individual talent in spades, but none who improves the game of all the other players to such a dramatic degree as Magic.
Wow...and to think...they almost chose Sidney Moncrief instead. Yikes!
06/26/2015 - 06:51 PM PST
Don't worry, he won't be the next Magic. He looks and plays a game more similar to Larry Bird and Brandon Roy. Real smart.
06/27/2015 - 10:14 AM PST
Serious Laker Fan
After a few year, Towns and Okafor will be a free agent, maybe we will see a Russell to Towns/Okafor assist combination.
06/27/2015 - 10:16 AM PST
LNS HOF Bronze
Magic was and still remains the single most unique athlete to play in the NBA because of his size along with his talent and smarts and the things he could do that all these decades later no player has yet matched.
Obviously Russell won't be another Magic. But all we need him to be is a great Russell. When I made my comparisons to Magic it was in that he can be our first great point since Magic. And when I say great, I mean really, really great, lol. That is what I expect from him. And of course the coincidence that he has nickname Voodoo at Ohio U which of course is reminiscent of the nickname Magic. It all ties together so well.
There is something else I have been hearing from more than one scout in the last week. They are saying Russell is two steps ahead of the game with his vision and intelligence. Those statements really caught my attention because the last players I heard NBA people talk about with those exact words were....you guessed it, Magic and Bird. It does tend to get me excited.
I was very torn between Okafor and Russell too. Honestly, one day I wanted Russell, then the next day Okafor. My two most important positions on a team are point and center and here were two guys at those positions.
I know a lot of fans and "experts" think the day of the big man is over. I don't. I just think there is a paucity of great big men and teams are figuring out ways to deal with that with the three and guard play instead of trying to tough it out with a mediocre center. I think if a Robinson or Shaq or Kareem or Wilt or Malone or Walton came into....
^^^ I sure hope that analyst is wrong too, and he very well may be.
It's been so long since the Lakers have had a great facilitating guard that it strains the brain. Great bigs are awesome to have, but they're so much less effective without great guards to either draw attention on their own or be excellent at getting the ball to them (Magic did both by the way). On the other hand, a great guard can almost make a team competitive by themselves.
Just for kicks, I'll say that I often wondered how devastating Shaq would have been if he had Magic to run the show. Can you even imagine? Of course Shaq was unbelievable anyway without a great facilitator on the team. Kobe deserves a lot of the credit for that, but mostly because he was such an extraordinarily talented individual player on his own. Kobe was such a killer that you had to pay an inordinate amount of attention to him. That left Shaq with far less defensive attention paid to him than he would have had on a less talented team.
I can't wait to see Russell on the court in NBA action. If we keep Clarkson, I hope we get to see a lot of those guys playing together. That's the nice thing about Russell being able to play the 2 guard slot just as well as the point.
06/27/2015 - 04:15 PM PST
LNS HOF Bronze
I agree with you one hundred percent. Shaq with Magic would have been illegal. It would have raised Shaq's game up yet another level.
And you have hit on a point that has always been on the back of my mind. I want to replicate Showtime to a degree. No, it can never happen again, but I want a facsimile. Magic and that team spoiled me, ruined me in a way. I have never seen anything like it since and I have never enjoyed hoops as much. I have never gotten the pure joy of watching a Lakers team like I did with that one. Not with the Shaq Kobe teams or the Kobe Gasol teams. To use a metaphor, it would be like taking heroin for years, then only being allowed weed, lol.
And only people who were lucky enough to see Magic and Showtime can understand this. Those who didn't, can't. I know you do since you saw it. So you know exactly what I'm saying.
So hopefully we have one piece in place at the point. A truly great passing point with the vision and intelligence to run the show on a very high level. And hopefully Randle will be something special too.
Now we need guys who can run. Young, athletic guys. And...........we need a great center to finish it. Which is why I wanted Okafor and Russell, lol.
Since that can't happen, I cast my eyes towards Anthony Davis. I would also take Cousins very gladly now that we have Russell. I know his agent tried like hell to make that trade with LA. He really wanted him here. I wonder when he becomes a free agent.
So I want a great point, which I think we have. I want teamates who can maximize what he can do. And I want another teams top center. Hopefully if Russell is everything some say, he will be a huge inducement for a top center to come and get that sugar from him. Then I want it all to come together in a facsimile of Showtime and start counting rings with a very exciting brand of ball.
I don't think I'm asking for that much, am I?
06/27/2015 - 08:07 PM PST
Location: yorba linda, ca
Is this the return of Showtime?
06/27/2015 - 08:38 PM PST
Die-Hard Laker Fan
It'd be hard to call anything Showtime without the Skyhook.
06/27/2015 - 08:44 PM PST
LNS HOF Bronze
There will never be another Showtime. The confluence of players and coaching that happened there was freakish. And the ultimate freak was Magic. There hasn't been anyone like him before or since.
Even when the Lakers were winning rings with Shaq and Kobe, Dr. Buss talked about how he still missed Showtime. And I always understood exactly what he meant. There is this thing with those who lived through it. Like that Camelot, the singular best time, that legend that everyone wants to go back to. For Lakers fans who experienced it, Camelot was Showtime. And like for Dr. Buss, for many Lakers fans, it was that perfect thing that you always want to return to, or replicate.
But while Showtime, that Showtime can never be again, with Russell I am thinking a fast break, share the ball team down the road here. If we can get the right guys around him and he turns out to be what some say, we can end up not only with a title contender someday, but a very exciting team too.
When you have a special point who can pass and run the show on a higher plane, then great and very exciting things are possible if you fill in the other blanks. Showtime can't come back, but why not something else great and exciting and fast in its own right?
^^ Randy, -- from above -- I'd accept a reasonable facsimile too! Any ol' day. Ha!
As much as I was torn at draft time, I've settled in on thinking they made the right choice this time around. I think there's truly a place for Clarkson, but I full heartedly agree with you that there's nothing like having a superstar at the point who is an unselfish distributor, but is multi-dimensional and can score on his own too. It's never a sure thing that a pick will be that kind of superstar in the NBA, but they had to try.
Magic came into the NBA after his sophomore season at Michigan State. It turned out he was NBA-ready in overwhelming fashion and had an immediate, immense impact. Wouldn't it be special if we see even a fraction of a repeat of that kind of start from Russell? It's going to be a more interesting season. [understatement ]
Quick Reply: RE: Voodoo Russell the Successor to Magic Johnson?
You are an anonymous user- or .
Note: Twitter & Youtube BBCODE Tags are no longer necessary. The system will automatically convert links to tweets & youtube videos.